Symptoms of spleen cancer include fatigue, unexpected weight loss, bone or joint pain, and abdominal pain, notes Healthgrades. Rapid heart rate, unresponsiveness, passing out, blue fingernails or lips, and breathing problems are life-endangering symptoms of spleen cancer. A weak immune system and enlargement of the spleen may trigger splenic cancer symptoms.
A person suffering from spleen cancer is likely to experience fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, night sweats and infections that occur regularly, explains Healthgrades. The person can also bruise or bleed easily. Feeling full in the upper abdomen may indicate that an individual suffers from spleen cancer.
Abnormal heart rhythms and pressure, tightness or pain in the chest may signify that an individual has severe splenic cancer, notes Healthgrades. Other symptoms include extreme abdominal pain, a fever that scales higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit and unexpected changes in behavior, including delusions, hallucinations and confusion. Additionally, the patient may breathe with a whistling sound or experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. A patient with these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
Risk factors for spleen cancer include a history of certain blood disorders, leukemia and lymphoma, certain infections, and old age, adds Healthgrades. Cancer, HIV/AIDS and certain medications may weaken the immune system, resulting in spleen cancer. Chemotherapy treatments, radiation and exposure to certain chemicals may also render a person vulnerable to spleen cancer.
Just because the spleen expands in size does not automatically mean that the patient has spleen cancer. In some cases, the spleen has simply been overactive and has expanded in size. One example would involve excess activity in eradicating blood cells, a condition known as hypersplenism, notes WebMD.
Viral, parasitic and bacterial infections such as mononucleosis and endocarditis are also common causes of enlargement in the spleen. Cirrhosis, other liver conditions, blood diseases, issues with the lymph system and inflammatory diseases also can cause a change in size. Both leukemia, a cancer involving the displacement of normal blood cells with white blood cells, and lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph tissue, sometimes cause the spleen to enlarge. If cancer has metastasized to the spleen from elsewhere in the body, the spleen sometimes grows in size. Cysts, abscesses and injury sometimes cause this change. The possible causes make spleen enlargement a cause for concern and a reason to visit the doctor, states WebMD.